Audio Report: cons, RPGs, healthy antics

Listen, listen, listen! This week we’d like to know something from the role-players in the audience, insofar as you’re willing to say: how much would you guess that you’ve spent on RPGs this year? If you want to break it out into con expenditures vs. book expenditures vs. other that would be optimal. Ballpark figures and wild-assed guesses also accepted. Thanks! And, you know, anything else you’d like to throw across our radar.


  1. I live in the UK, so I don’t go to GENCON, tho’ obviously I could go to GENCON UK, but, erm, don’t:

    I think I spent upwards of £350 a year, which the internet tells me is in the region of 600 dollars US.

  2. Previoulsy I used to spend easily a thousand pounds a year. In the last year I have spent 100 pounds.

  3. I’ve blown probably about $500+ … the vast bulk of that at GenCon alone. My girlfriend has a death threat against me if I buy any more miniatures … so I guess I’ll switch to board games for a bit.

  4. As I’ve got older I’ve spent less and less money on RPG’s. Part of that is because of my interest in wargaming, but also because for the most part, it seems that often times things are just rehashed, a new edition, or something to revive the game or world setting that didn’t need to be done.
    D20 sort of got me back into it, I like the D20 open license, it’s not the best system in the world but it works and it’s familiar. I”ve certainly not spent as much money on all the various books I could have. There are tons of D20 books but they just don’t seem to have the meat in them they used too.

    If I had to take a guess, I’d say I’ve spent about 250$ on RPG books this year, various worlds and some new games. I’d have to say I’ve spent about 300$ on Cons, mostly wargaming cons, and since the introduction of D&D minis, I’d have to say I’ve spent about 300$ on RPG minis!

  5. I would love to hear total gaming expenditures, but Mike has RPGs…so, heck, do whatever you want 😉

    Also, some people asked us to post to various places when the new one was up. Any suggestions where? Or can we get the Ogre Army out there to post to their favorite places when they see the update? Boy, that would sure be handy.

  6. On RPGs alone I spent about $900 this year (don’t tell my wife!). My total gaming expenditures would be maybe about $1,200 (PLEASE don’t tell my wife!) 😛

    It’s more than I spent last year I think, but I’m not sure why.

    A good third of this year’s RPG total was spent on indie RPGs.

  7. Howdy,

    Because I am an idiot, I actually have pretty accurate numbers for this year:

    Board and card games: $430
    Miniatures: $30
    RPGs: $170 ($130 at Gen Con)

    In years past the RPG and board and card games numbers would be more evenly distributed. RPGs are low this year because I gave up buying D&D supplements when, just after I finished getting all the builder books for 3.0, Wizards released D&D 3.5. At the same time, D&D is all my friends want to play. Sigh. Board games are up this year due to all the cool re-releases (Through the Desert, Ra, etc.)



  8. Thinking about how much I spent last year made me look at what I bought a bit closer. I think I need to revise my estimate down as I haven’t bought any boardgames this year (yet). So maybe $900 after all.

    I bought into several lines that were updated with a new edition:

    GURPS 4th coupled with a big layout for several Transhuman Space books.
    Legend of the Five Rings 3rd (which I am running now and actively hunting down old sups for).
    WFRP 2nd
    Shadowrun 4th
    Castles & Crusades
    Iron Kingdoms

    Plus other odds and ends. My expenditure on indie games ($300) got me a rather large pile of stuff, including The Mountain Witch, Burning Wheel, Prime Time Adventures, et al.

    All of the indie games were bought at GenCon for me by a friend who was there (I live in Japan and couldn’t go).

    I buy almost everything online, as the LGS’s around here have truly ridiculous markups (often around %200) on imported games.

  9. According to my amazon account, I only bought 4 D&D books in the last 12 months (which doesn’t seem right, but I guess it is)


    I bought two cases of deathknell and aberrations.


    I bought singles of angelfire


    I probably bought about $50 of other RPG miniuatures.

    I spent about $300 on origins. I spent about $200 on travel to other cons (mepacon, etc)

    $1240. Yikes. 🙂

  10. Expenditure this year of $300 USD or so (alot more in AUD due to overseas shipping).

    All boardgames, mainly Euros.

  11. This is only an estimate, as I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things, but it seems to break down like this:

    RPGS; $380
    Mini’s: $500 (Mostly D&D Minis, Warmachine and a few Confrontation and Warlord)
    Board: $150
    CCGs: $125

    Ok ouch … $1150

  12. Guys, if you are retailers and you don’t get “Comics and Games Retailer” Magazine, shame on you. Each year in April is State of the Gaming Industry Report.

    According to that report, CGR estimates that there are approximately 1500 (I presume U.S./Canadian) stores, each selling an average of 961 units of RPG products (avg. of $24,025 per store) for a conservative estimate of $36,037,500 of RPG books supplements, and modules.

    Trading card sales are estimated from $90-180 million.

    CMGs are estimated to be between $26-43 million.

    The total size of the RPG + CMG + CCG industry domestically is around $200-350 million according to statistics extrapolated from Comics and Games Retailer’s annual survey of subscribers.

    I’ll leave you to cross-compare this with Dancey’s estimates, etc.

    BTW – every month CGR estimates what the sales levels are for every major RPG, CCG, and CMG on the market. Definitely a must have for retailers. Expensive by the issue, but cheap for a subscription. And I think brick and mortar stores can sometimes get subscriptions free.

    Hope that helps, guys.

  13. I am a retailer, and I have always been somewhat suspicious of the numbers in that mag. I don’t have a good feeling for how they are taking their sampling data, or if they are getting enough data to make a good survey…

    But thanks none the less.

  14. Chris, think about what you are doing even here, even in this forum — this is not a random assortment of people. These are people who regularly stop by your website and probably regularly listen to your podcast, and also represents a very small sample size. CGR is, I think, based on the self-reported data of some of the shops who subscribe to the magazine, and the data set returns certain averages. For full industry spending they then estimate the total number of shops and multiply their averages by the estimated numbers of shops. Sure, they are unlikely to get an “A” in a statistics class at Harvard for doing this. And this may end up generating totally specious results. More likely, they generate results with some reasonable level of reliability, but with a much larger than normal margin of error. However, I’ve not seen any source of data on the hobby gaming industry which involved random sampling or even stratified cluster samples based on demographic data. So, we have what we have, and to my knowledge, CGR is, for better or worse, the best data set we actually have for nationwide industry figures in the hobby gaming industry.

    Does the information in CGR (on their product sales per store) not stack up comparably to what you see in your own store? I imagine that, on a store-by-store basis, the variance is probably massive, but I doubt that your top sellers are completely out-of-line with CGR’s top 10.

  15. Lee,

    Sadly the figures are at times widely different. Because the sampling may be heavy in some geographic areas, and light in others, it’s tough. In some areas of the country, Heroclix and Mechwarrior are still hugely popular…while in others sales have virtually dried up. Yes, it’s easy to look at the charts, and see that D&D is always the best selling RPG..but when White Wolf comes in 2 or 3…I scratch my head, considereding it barely breaks top 10 in my store. I can see why you would want to lobby for CGnR, and the data they are providing..but it ain’t all that. And frankly, not much more helpful than what you saw us doing here. It’s nifty that they do it, and they occasionally have some interesting articles, I just wish it were more. That’s my $.02, and I’m sticking to it.

  16. Thanks for the feedback, Chris.

    Re: White Wolf, everything I’ve heard from every source I’ve heard of suggests that (particularly including their d20 imprints) White Wolf has among the top 4 overall sales nationally of RPG products. This may change courtesy of their “reboot” of the WoD. Of course, there will be massive variance on a store by store basis depending on what you and others choose to actively promote and play in your area.

    If you want a second set of numbers, however, I think Alliance / Diamond have monthly sales ranks for products. They do this at least for comics.

    I’ll be interested in seeing what you guys come up with for your podcast.

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